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The fire service has long been considered one of the most trustworthy professions; however, it only takes a handful of bad behaviors to erode the public’s trust. From embezzlement of public funds to problematic social media posts, firefighters have been discovered making poor decisions that require immediate action. There’s also firehouse behavior like tardiness, insubordination and harassment that can undermine morale, increase risk and jeopardize a department’s reputation.

This series identifies the top disciplinary issues facing fire service leaders and what they can do to change bad behavior while preserving trust among the community and members. It also examines how to identify top performers, recognition for firefighters who meet or exceed department and community expectations, and how to use performance metrics in making promotion decisions.

What are the rules for discipline at the chief officer level?
Fire service legal expert Curt Varone explains why fire service discipline is so different than discipline in “cubicle world”
Chief Bashoor takes a high-level look at the complex issues of discipline among the ranks
Eight principles to ensure self-disciplined progress among your members
Forge a solid foundation now to avoid the awkward buddy-to-boss transitions down the road
Leaders must focus on consistency, fairness and support
Redemption and advancement are possible; you just have to see yourself as the solution
Firefighters should set their own goals for success, then department leaders can help them find the best path forward
Captain’s Masts and “badges on the table” discussions can help departments resolve problems and move on
The best feedback is timely, relevant, specific and actionable
What if two firefighters — one an underperformer, one a star performer — commit the same infraction?
District Chief Sobieski offers strategies for handling performance issues and details how to develop a performance improvement plan
Why fire departments must embrace discipline in order to protect the integrity of the organization and the employee